Author: neil

Learners regularly have visits from a local Police Community Support Officer to talk about different crime topics, from knife crime, to most recently county lines.

PCSO, Delia Farren, who delivered the most recent session, had this message to share with our learners.

“As a Youth Engagement PCSO for Leicestershire Police my role involves presenting educational workshops to young people in the area. I have regularly visited RIS Hinckley to deliver our educational offer over the last year.

“On Wednesday 28 February I was invited in to give a county lines awareness workshop to learners. The workshop’s aim is for them to understand what county lines are, how they operate and why criminal gangs recruit young people and the roles they are expected to play.

“We also explored incentives the criminal gangs will offer to entice young people into this criminal activity, how to recognise key warning signs young people may display if involved, and to understand the factors that can make some more vulnerable and susceptible to county lines.

“This was an ideal opportunity to work within a small group and a great way of engaging by creating an open dialogue for any queries to be answered and explored.

“I am fully aware of the challenges some of the learners are facing and I hope by being a regular visitor I can break down some of the barriers. I am always warmly welcomed by all staff and look forward to returning and having the opportunity to engage again with the young people at R.E.A.L.”

Kerry Newton, Hinckley Site Lead Teacher said: “These visits are important to raise the awareness of our students as to what is happening in reality out there. Also to educate them in the signs, the dangers of getting involved and how to seek help.

“If they are fully educated in these matters then they are forewarned and forearmed so they can make sensible and healthy life choices.”

A learner at R.E.A.L. has taken part in two categories at this year’s Crufts and has proudly taken home a 1st place rosette.

Holly Willoughby and border collie Hero, entered the Young Kennel Club’s ‘Graduate Agility Large’ category on the first day of Crufts. The course was a timed, action packed obstacle course, for Holly to skillfully navigate Hero through by running, jumping and weaving in between.

Holly also competed in the Young Kennel Club’s ‘Pairs Agility Large’ and narrowly missed out on a second rosette by coming fourth, however it is still a fantastic achievement.

Dawn Hembrow, R.E.A.L. Learning Manager said: “Everyone is so proud of Holly winning her class at Crufts! This proves that with consistency and dedication you can achieve your dreams.”

Well done Holly!

A Key Stage 3 learner at R.E.A.L. has the amazing opportunity to potentially be selected to represent England in the Under 15’s Fishing World Championship.

Arley, who has been fishing for the last five years, says he felt good when he found out the news. Arley said: “When I found out I had a chance to represent the country I felt good, but I’m aware that I still have some work to do to be selected.”

Arley’s fishing tutor, Ian said: “Arley is a competent young angler who is refining and developing his angling skills and knowledge with ‘Young Anglers’. He’s also willing to help other anglers and demonstrates the skills to progress to become an Angling Support Coach once he reaches the age of 16.”

As a KS3 learner, Arley has been working to achieve the Angling Trust ‘CAST’ Awards, which are a set of awards that celebrate his practical angling achievements. He has already achieved Level 1, 2, 3 and 4 awards and is now working towards Level 5. Ian said: “His achievements are also recorded in our ‘Young Anglers Angling Passport’ enabling Arley to identify which areas to focus on to reach the practical criteria for the award.”

Arley also competes in Junior Open League matches which take place on a Saturday between April and October, junior matches during the school holidays and several regional events. Arley said: “I just enjoy being able to be outdoors, on my own, doing my own thing where it’s nice and quiet. 

“My biggest ever catch was an 18.5lb Carp, however, I enjoy mixing it up and fishing for all different species of fish.”

The events include the Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire Schools Angling Championship, Canal & River Trust Regional & National Celebration of Young People & Fishing, Angling Trust Cadet, Junior & Cadet National Championships. 

Ian said: “Arley has recently been selected to attend the prestigious Guru Talent Pathway events. The Talent Pathway sees our young talented anglers from across the country being coached by some of England’s top senior anglers. The pathway is part of the selection process for this year’s England U15 team who will compete in the World Championships taking place in Serbia later this year.”

We’d like to wish Arley the best of luck with his Talent Pathway sessions and we’re sure whether he’s selected for England now or not, he will continue to develop his obvious talent and ‘reel’ in success.

Learners at Nanpantan have been creating brilliant, dinosaur dioramas as part of their STEM lessons.

A diorama is usually a 3D replica of a scene, or moment in time and presented in a box. Inspiration for the dinosaur setting came from this term’s theme being ‘Origin of the Species’.

The masterpieces took around three hours to make in total, although the learners had started making plans the week before.

Laurie Akroyd, Senior Deputy Head of Schools said: “Learners worked together in pairs, and they all really enjoyed the challenge. They loved their efforts enough to take their dioramas home!”

There’s always something quite magical about going to a theatre, from the show itself, to the props, lighting, dancing and singing. Often leaving you thinking, how did they do that?

Learners across various R.E.A.L. sites were recently given a full backstage tour at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal as part of their ‘building blocks of theatre’ module.

In this scheme of work, learners have studied lighting, sound, costume design, make-up, stage sets, special effects, scripts and stage directions.

Debra Lloyd, Teacher said: “Visiting the theatre made all of this studying come to life. It helped the learners to make sense of all the many parts that need to come together to make a theatrical performance happen and experience first hand what happens backstage.

“They were able to visit dressing rooms, see where the props and costumes are kept, explore the auditorium, see the huge spotlights and experience what it feels like to stand on the stage.”

At R.E.A.L. we offer a holistic approach to teaching making experiences meaningful for young people. If you’d like to find out more, email

“Ladies and gentlemen, let’s get ready to rumble…” so learners might not have been thrown straight in the ring for a fight but they’ve had the fantastic experience of being taught boxing tips and techniques.

Learners on R.E.A.L’s BTEC Sports course visited Nuneaton Combat and Exercise centre for a session led by professional boxing and MMA trainers.

Kerry Newton, Hinckley Site Lead Teacher said: “The learners loved the excellent training and discipline involved. The facilities were top notch and learners soon developed a great rapport with the trainers.”

The session involved them doing warm-ups, skipping, training on the bags and pads, footwork training and individual time in the ring with the trainers.

Kerry said: “It was such a positive and encouraging delivery and the trainers were thrilled to discover real natural talent they could work with. We’ll be coming back again and possibly starting some kickboxing sessions in the near future too.”

Deciding what to do after school can be a difficult decision, which is why we think it’s important at R.E.A.L. for our learners to experience different post education options.

Learners recently visited Nottingham Trent University’s Science and Engineering department and got the chance to use some of the most up-to-date technology and equipment. This included creating 3D models, glass blowing and working with robotics.

Maria Poyser, Site Lead Teacher said: “These out-of-classroom experiences are vitally important for our learners, particularly the University visits, as it raises their aspirations and helps them to see that education is and can be exciting. 

“It’s not just about sitting behind a desk, it’s about creativity, innovation, research, daring to try new things; and most importantly it doesn’t have to be beyond their reach.”

English and Science classes bonded together this month for an explosive theatrical experiment.

Learners from Key Stage 3 English and Key Stage 4 Science enjoyed an immersive learning experience about pyrotechnics and special effects in theatre and stage.

Maria Poyser, Site Lead Teacher, used indoor fountain fireworks as part of the session: “All the special effects were a miniature version of the larger effects that can be used on stage. I used these fireworks to demonstrate a smaller version of the large sparkle fountains used at the front of the stage for performances.”

Learners also used indoor sparklers that they could hold, a miniature bubble machine and connectable luminous bands to make large windmills and put them on clothing.

The Science lead also explained the chemical reactions taking place from the fireworks, bubbles and the luminescent liquids used to create the glow in the dark sticks.

Maria said: “The learners loved having this hands-on experience, everyone had great fun! Both classes benefited as the Science class could learn about chemistry and English could explore the different special effects and how they add to the audience’s experience.”

A local PCSO has come into R.E.A.L. to speak to learners about knife crime.

PCSO Delia presented a PowerPoint to a group at Hinckley about knife crime in Leicestershire. Delia spoke to learners in detail about local knife crime and revealed that 1 in 100 people could potentially be carrying a knife.

Dayle Silver, Teacher said: “This shocking figure is too high! The learners thought about why young people feel the need to carry a knife and came up with some ideas on how to minimise this. For example, should the government be doing more? What would deter young people from carrying?

“Most of the learners agreed that carrying a knife is out of fear and for protection, which is very sad and worrying for the young people of today.”

The learners found the workshop very informative and learned a great deal. This workshop followed a bullying and online safety session and PCSO Delia has said she will come back any time to cover other aspects of crime in the local area affecting our young people.”

We’ll go out on a limb here and say we have an interesting fact that you may not have heard before. Did you know that while it takes nine muscles to move your thumb, there are no muscles in your fingers? Your fingers are actually moved by the muscles in your forearm!

That may seem like a random fact to share, but it was discovered by learners in a STEM lesson at RIS Ilkeston after studying prosthetic limbs. Learners started by looking at how prosthetic limbs made by 3D printers can only be created for the upper body, due to the strength needed in weight bearing limbs. Finding out fingers had no muscles meant the limb of choice to make in class was a hand!

Fiona Ryan, Specialist Teaching Assistant said: “Using one of the learner’s hands as a template we cut a squared hand shape out of cardboard. Then we used plastic drinking straws and string to attach to each finger which enabled us to pick up things, like a glue stick and whiteboard pen.

“Learners Charlie, Jamie and Zac really enjoyed this task and took great joy in demonstrating their creation to staff and learners. They’ve since commented on how interesting it was to find out that we don’t have any muscles in our fingers and they also discussed how it must feel to lose a limb and showed great empathy and understanding. 

“I really enjoyed teaching this session! It held a particular interest for me as my mum trained as a nurse in a hospital that pioneered the design and use of prosthetics post WW1. The best part of this lesson was being able to show our learners that people use prosthetics due to many different reasons (birth defects, accidents/trauma, disease etc.) and how the cost of a prosthetic limb is coming down in price since the invention of 3D printing.”